Monday, April 2, 2012

No Place to Turn

“Yesterday everything was going too fast
Today it’s moving too slow
I got no place left to turn
I got nothing left to burn.”
Bob Dylan, “Standing in the Doorway”

I’ve been playing Dylan’s “Time Out of Mind” while finishing “Chronicles I.” It won a Grammy as album of the year and was produced by Daniel Lanois, who worked with Dylan on “Oh Mercy” ten years before. At the 1998 Grammys Dylan was performing “Love Sick,” the first song on the CD, when performance artist Michael Portnoy darted onto the stage with “Soy Bomb” painted on his bare chest and began gyrating to the music. Nonplussed, Dylan continued singing, and after about 30 seconds security guards escorted Portnoy off.

Saturday I swam with Dave’s family at Portage Best Western. One young girl who appeared to be unsupervised saw James and me floating and asked if I could teach her. I tried to demonstrate but chose not to put my hand under her back to help her. In this day and age one cannot be too careful on matters that some might misinterpret as sexual. Sad because the girl seemed starved for attention from a (grand)father figure.

I called Chuck Gallmeier on my cell phone, went to his house, and showed him my 16-minute video entitled “The Influence of David Malik.” In the documentary Chuck was very eloquent discussing Malik’s contributions both to FACET and IU Northwest. Barb was exercising when I arrived, and Chuck liked it so much he put it on again for her. We both commented on how expressive Chuck’s eyebrows were when he made a point. When Phil was in high school, he was a news anchor on a weekly Portage local access program and used his eyebrows in a similar way.

On the cover of Rolling Stone is 21 year-old Jennifer Lawrence, star of “The Hunger Games.” The issue contains a troubling article on fraternity hazing at Dartmouth. What pledges have to endure is debasing and dangerous and should be abolished. When I was a Sig Ep at Bucknell we had a hell weekend that involved some humiliating things but we weren’t forced to eat or drink stuff guaranteed to make you puke. It was more like calisthenics and reciting stuff we’d memorized about the history of Sigma Phi Epsilon. The main purpose behind the weekend was to give the house a good cleaning. The following Monday at midnight we went on a pledge raid. Someone set off cherry bombs in the living room; one rolled under a sofa. The place burned to the ground, and we didn’t have a new house until my senior year.

I rooted for Kentucky and Kansas, both winners in the NCAA semi-finals, because both Phil and Dave had them reaching the finals, whereas my teams, Michigan State and Syracuse had been eliminated. After going one for five gaming, I watched the Flyers beat the Penguins and “Bridesmainds” on HBO prior to the second season debut of “Game of Thrones.” Tiny Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) has emerged as the most interesting character, having become hand to the obnoxious young King Joffrey, who ordered his troops to slay all of Robert, the former king’s, bastard sons. Rumor has it that his real father is Jaime the twin brother of Cersei, his mother.

Over the winter workmen spent several months refurbishing IUN’s first floor Library/Conference Center bathroom. Now the light comes on when you enter and goes off when you leave. Once a few years a smart aleck turned the lights off on me while I was in the stall. At our hotel in Barcelona four years ago, the bathroom next to where we ate breakfast came on but went off about two minutes later whether you’d left or not.

Steve Soderbergh’s “Sex, Lies, and Videotape” was the film in Alan Barr’s class. I’d seen it when it came out in 1989 but didn’t recall much about it. Soderbergh directed “Traffic” in 2000 and the very long movie “Ché” about the Latin American revolutionary. Alan’s question was how extensive and various were the lies. The most obvious falsehoods were John’s denials about having an affair. Initially Ann probably deluded herself into saying she was satisfied with her marriage, but the fact that she was in therapy meant she was trying to come to grips with the source of her unhappiness. I found the two sisters to be, though polar opposites when it came to their inhibitions or lack of them, quite honest. On the other hand, the two main male characters, John and Graham, appeared to be living lives of deception. John lied at the drop of the hat, from little white lies at work to cancel appointments to whoppers to his wife about his relationship with his sister-in-law. In fact, when he tells Graham he banged his old girlfriend ten years before, he adds that one of the two good things about her was that she could keep a secret (i.e., a deception). Graham is attempting to shed his former pathological lying personality but to do that in the end required him to destroy the videotapes that were but another form of deception.

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